Use of massage in fractures

A) Characteristics of a fracture:

1. Patient experiences pain over bone fractured and in surrounding area. Severity of pain depends upon extent of fracture and is usually unbearable.
2. There may be swelling around fracture area.
3. Complete loss of movement of part of body where bone is fractured. Forcible movement may lead to severe pain.
4. Hairline fractures usually do not present any of sign and symptoms mentioned above and are difficult to diagnose clinically.
5. Radiological investigation like X-ray makes diagnosis clear, even in a hairline fracture. Vertebral fracture can also be diagnosed with help of Ctscan/MRI.
6. Vertebral fracture due to severe trauma like accident usually result in severe pain and may present as medical emergency with loss of consciousness etc especially if neck region is involved.
7. Some patients may feel pain over fractured area/bone during cold or pain after heavy work involving fractured area etc, even after healing of fracture takes place.

B) Aims of massage:

1. Though massage can hardly play any role in a fracture due to severity of pain, role of massage is important once the pain subsides or is less in intensity and bearable. Massage is also important after the fracture has healed completely.
2. The most important aim of massage is to nourish the bone that has been fractured and aid the healing process, so that strength and stability is restored quickly after healing.
3. Massage will aid in qualitatively good healing of fracture and therefore will reduce chance of patient experiencing any type of pain over fractured bone in future.
4. Increased blood supply due t o massage will result in reduced swelling and also in regaining of movements due to increased flexibility and strength.

C) Process of massage:

1. Body area to be massaged: Though local massage over involved area is sufficient, full body massage is advisable to reduce stress over other body parts.
2. Direction of massage movements: Direction of massage movements should be opposite to direction in which fracture have occurred, so that even minute bone particles will also get properly aligned and heel fracture rapidly making bone strong as before.
3. Useful massage tips:
* Pressure during massage should be adjusted as per patients strength of bearing pain. Usually massage should be started with light pressure and gradually increase pressure. Avoid more friction.
* At least 25-30minutes of massage should be given over fractured area so that oil properly reaches up to bones and nourish them restoring their strength.
* Oil should be warm at the time of massage.

D) Use of different oils for massage:

1. Oil that will nourish bones in the body should be used for massage like sesame oil, coconut oil, almond oil etc.
2. Also, during preparation of oil, medicines like bark of Terminalia arjuna, or herbs like sida cordifolia, abutilon indicum linn. Etc as also milk, black sesame etc may be added to increase the potency of oil for nourishment of bones and increasing their strength and stability.